How do prototypes change? Characterising quantitative and qualitative changes between prototype iterations

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Real, Ricardo; Snider, Chris; Goudswaard, Mark; Hicks, Ben
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Bristol
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2105-2114
DOI number:


Prototyping strategies and technology often focus on reducing the fabrication time and cost between design iterations, however, there is limited knowledge about the specific characteristics of change that prototyping strategies aim to impact. To investigate, and better understand these characteristics, this study curates and systematically analyses a representative dataset of 50 'real-world' prototype samples. The study aims to explore the various elements that constitute a design change and to determine their impact on the scale of volumetric change detected. The results highlight emergent patterns and correlations between study metrics to better understand the reasons for design change and the frequency and scale of changes detected in the sample dataset. Findings reveal that the purpose of a design change is, in certain cases, highly correlated to the scale of change affected, and that some changes are more prevalent in the dataset than others, with an average volumetric difference of 4.2% between sample versions detected. The study provides an initial characterisation of prototype change to guide iterative prototyping processes and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of design iterations.

Keywords: Big data, Case study, Remanufacture, Change, Embodiment design

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